Jelly Roll Morton, Inventor Of Jazz, Online Book by Alan Lomax

with Some sheet music & lyrics.

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Hello, Central, Give Me Doctor laz;
was lonesome. It was frantic, this New Orleans hot stuff, especially the Dixieland variety, and it went down with them, for gangsters, too, are outcasts. Besides, they had a proprietary interest; they owned or protected the joints that the hot men were packing with customers.
Most oldtime Chicago jazzmen remember working for Ca-pone or one of the mobsters. They recall that it was often un­healthy to quit one of those jobs, if the boss said stay. They tell about the trumpetman on a job where business was good. A bid to Hollywood came. The boss said "No"7 and the horn-blower stalled the offer for six months. When he was finally allowed to resign, the mobsters presented him with a dia­mond-studded watch. As he was packing in his hotekoom, two of the gang came by, beat him up, and retrieved their senti­mental memento. His wife, who had been slapped around a bit in the fun, at last understood why a bodyguard always sat with her when she visited her husband on his job.
This is not an unusual story in the world of Jazz. To this day gangsters operate many nightclubs wiiere hot music flourishes, indeed they are its most loyal patrons7 keeping the great hot men working while the tides of the entertainment business shift and change. Too much has been written about jazz as the direct reflection of the post-war, prohibition era, and too little about the extra-musical influences upon it—the Procrustean demands of the music "business/7 the gangster control, and the power of certain figures who went into the "legitimate** music business when the rackets got too hot.
This subject used to send Jelly Roll into a passion, but he never forgot himself so far as to name names. Of course his annoyance had nothing to do with truth or beauty. He simply could not compete with diese Chicago higher-ups in the rackets, and this he apparently discovered on his arrival The town was sewed up tight and his familiar sidelines were out. For the first time in years Jelly Roll was forced, to his great annoyance and to our good fortune, to devote himself exclu­sively to music.